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Einstein note on modesty, happiness sells for bonkers bucks

Albert Einstein's handwritten note on the secret to happiness goes for a shockingly high price at auction, but perhaps the buyer needs the scientist's advice.

This note reads, "Stilles bescheidenes Leben gibt mehr Glueck als erfolgreiches Streben, verbunden mit bestaendiger Unruhe."

Winner's Auctions

Famed scientist and iconic genius Albert Einstein had a lot of theories. One you might not have heard before is a simple theory on how living a modest life can bring happiness. 

Einstein wrote this idea out in a 1922 note given to a messenger in lieu of a tip at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo during a lecture tour of Japan. That short scribble just fetched over $1.5 million (£1.1 million, AU$1.9 million) at auction.

Winner's Auctions & Exhibitions sold the handwritten missive on Tuesday. The auction house translates the note from German into English as "A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness." Einstein's signature and the date and place follow. The note is on hotel stationary.

Bidding started at just $2,000 (£1,500, AU$2,600) but The Guardian notes two phone bidders battled against each other until the final incredible price was reached. 

According to the auction description, Einstein told the courier to keep the note with the expectation its future value would be much higher than a regular monetary tip. As with many things, he was right. The auctioneer expected the note to fetch just $8,000 (£6,000, AU$10,400) on the high end, rather than the immodest sum it pulled in. 

Will the note's new owner take Einstein's advice to heart? We may never know.